Is The End of the Anonymous Internet is Near: The launch of Google+ has caused an old issue to boil to the surface: should you be required to use your real name when signing up for Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networking services? The Big 3 think so and whether you agree or not, you’re witnessing the beginning of the end of the anonymous internet – especially when your personal information and even embarrassing information like mugshots can be found by anybody on the internet.
We’ve all seen how presumably normal people, combined with an anonymous profile, can become “comment trolls” of the worst type. Discussions over heated topics quickly spiral into name-calling and curse-word-filled rants against the other side, resulting in the equivalent of an online riot where nothing gets accomplished. The anonymous internet has led to reputational damage on a global scale — and with anonymous users able to make defamatory comments without fear of repercussion, there is very little most of us can do to protect our own digital reputations.
While there are pros and cons associated with internet censorship, one of the proven strategies for nipping digital trolls in the bud is to require the use of real names and real profiles on blogs and social media platforms.
It’s amazing how real names attached to real profiles make the discussion civil and polite. When we turned our comments over to Facebook on several sites about a year ago, the quality of debate and discussion improved immensely.
Everyone understands that when your online reputation is at stake, the cursing, screaming and personal attacks drop significantly.
Some will argue that it is in the best interest of the social networks to have real profiles associated with real people. That’s true, but I think we all get a better online experience when people think twice about what they say online.
Their online reputation depends on it – as it should.
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